Kia’s Rio brings the fight to the established top supermini players, such as the Peugeot 208, Ford Fiesta and VW Polo.

Available in both three and five door hatchback form, this current model gets upmarket looks, along with offering a spacious cabin, decent equipment levels and varied engine options -  including a 1.1 and 1.4 litre diesel and a 1.25 and 1.4 litre petrol. With 74 bhp, this 3-cylinder 1.1-litre CRDi 2 EcoDynamics diesel certainly isn’t the quickest performer, but it does boast exceptionally low emissions of just 86 g/km of CO2 and an exceptionally high 85.6 mpg (official combined figure). Those looking for a peppier drive should opt for the larger 89 bhp diesel or the 107 bhp petrol.

It might not be as sharp or involving to drive as the Ford Fiesta, but manages to hold its own against many other supermini rivals with good body control and stability. Less impressive is ride quality, which can feel a bit unsettled at times, as well as rather poor engine and road noise refinement levels at higher speeds – although there’s a noticeable lack of wind noise intrusion. Thanks to its compact dimensions though, the Rio is easy to drive around town and park in tight spaces – further aided by its tight turning circle.

Both three-door and five-door versions are available in a wide variety of finishes: Blaze Red, Bright Silver, Electric Blue, Midnight Black, Graphite, and Clear White. There's also a wide selection of trim options on offer, including 1, 1 Air, 2 and 3 specifications. Even entry-level models get electric front windows, trip computer, steering wheel audio controls and Bluetooth. 1 Air trim adds air-conditioning, while 2 specification gets 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, heated door mirrors and front/rear electric windows. Top spec Kia Rio 3 boasts numerous extra luxuries, including 17-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights with cornering function, climate control, cruise control and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Rio boasts a desirable, high-quality interior. Key features include the three-dial instrument cluster and toggle switches adorning the dashboard. Most drivers should be able to get comfortable, thanks to an adjustable driving position, although some may find the seats a bit lacking in lower back support. Another gripe is the restricted rear vision, caused by a shallow rear screen and chunky rear three-quarter pillars.

Despite this Kia being a small car, there’s actually a fair amount of space available. Two adults are easily accommodated in the rear. Back aft, the 288 litre boot compares favourably with rivals such as the Hyundai i20 and Ford Fiesta. Folding the seats increases space to a healthy 923 litres. Elsewhere there are cubbies dotted around the cabin. Annoyingly, the door bins lack depth, but can at least house a large bottle of soft drink or water.


The Rio is an affordable, yet capable supermini package, boasting sharp looks and a spacious interior. Kia’s seven-year/100,000 mile warranty gives further peace of mind, too.

Tech spec:
Kia Rio 1.1 CRDI 1
Price: £11,995

Engine: 1120cc, 3 cylinder diesel
Power: 74 bhp @ 4000 rpm
Torque: 180Nm
Top speed: 99 mph
CO2 emissions: 86g/km of CO2
MPG: 85.6 mpg (combined)